Morocco | Group F | World Cup 2022 team preview
As has become tradition lately, the Moroccan national team goes through qualifiers like a knife through butter and this time was no different. They scored a total of 25 goals and only allowed 3 to be scored on them. Unfortunately, this hasn’t translated to great finishes at neither their domestic championship nor the last World Cup. Case in point, Morocco managed to earn just 1 point over 3 games at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
How do they play?
One of the biggest problems the Moroccan side has faced so far is that they gather up all the top talent willing to represent the nation from around the world but then run into communication issues. The players should all be very high quality with both the left and the right wing being manned by world class defenders. Morocco’s right wing should be especially strong since the likes of Achraf Hakimi (PSG) and Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea) stand guard there. It’s exactly the performance of both wings that new head coach Walid Regragui hopes will lead the team to victory. The previous chief had a falling out with Ziyech but Regragui brought the hotshot back on the team.
Why they can win?
Speaking of big names, Morocco has a plethora of them – Yassine Bounou standing between the goal posts, Romain Saiss, Noussair Mazraoui, and Achraf Hakimi in defense, Hakim Ziyech, Munir El Haddadi, and Youssef En-Nesyri at the front. If everyone brings their A-game and the team clicks then Morocco should prove a worthy adversary to Canada, Croatia, and Belgium.
Why they can lose?
Marocco’s main issue that threatens to rear its ugly head is what goes on in midfield. Romain Saiss may not end up with other defenders as good as him. Sofyan Amrabat is an experienced midfielder, but his heyday could be behind him. Youssef En-Nesyri has seen it all and done it all as a forward, with plenty of goals scored to boot. However, this autumn he, like the rest of Sevilla, has not been performing to the best of his abilities.
The leading stars
The team’s biggest stars are on the right wing. Hakim Ziyech has been demonstrating for years now that he is truly the crème de la crème. It’s not for nothing that the fans of Amsterdam Ajax bestowed upon him the moniker “The Wizard”. Ziyech is assisted by Achraf Hakimi – probably one of the fastest and most productive wingbacks in the world. He has never scored less than 2 goals per season and usually scores 5 or more.
The fresh faces
The 24-year-old Hakimi has stepped on the field for the national team a whopping 53 times. Mazraoui, who is of the same age, has been a late bloomer in comparison. Though just like Ziyech he got his career going at the talent factory that is Amsterdam Ajax. For a time, he too was at odds with the national team’s management, but that’s all history now and surely it’s time to let the good times roll.